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This is not new, but I just stumbled across this. It’s a very interesting summary and critique of the “minimal facts” approach to arguing evidentially for the Resurrection.
Jeffery Jay Lowder is President Emeritus of Internet Infidels, Inc., which he co-founded in 1995. He is also co-editor of the book, The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave.
I linked to that as well. Here's my take on it:
The 'minimal facts' people don't appreciate just how ridiculous some of us think their beliefs are, and this restricts their imagination greatly in coming up with scenarios "more likely" than the one in which some man is raised from the dead by his father God.
For instance, I find it much more likely that Jesus had a twin brother that Mary hid away, than the claim that he literally was raised from the dead by his daddy God.
We are dealing with people that get a woody when it is found that the New Testament gets the name of a city correct, or a major local politician. They aren't exactly tough to impress when it comes to their canon.
I can usually make my point effectively by letting them know my standards for accepting someone was raised from the dead yesterday, much less 2000 years ago based on documents written and compiled by advocates for Christ.
Yep, that's the dirty little secret of the "minimal facts" approach: the apologist doesn't really restrict himself to those four facts, but surreptitiously helps himself to an antecedent theological framework including a full-fledged Christology derived from the very texts whose veracity is in dispute.
Just ask them. Ask them how antecedently unlikely it is for a corpse to return from the dead after three days. 9 times out of 10 in my experience*, they come back at you with "but you need to understand God tells us he has special purposes for raising Christ".
Hello? What happened to the "minimal" in the phrase "minimal facts"?
*(the other times they just tell me I am a dogmatist who rejects supernatural explanations a priori to justify my cocaine-fueled homo-bortionist lifestyle.)
"We are dealing with people that get a woody when it is found that the New Testament gets the name of a city correct, or a major local politician. They aren't exactly tough to impress when it comes to their canon."
ps BDK have you heard the new one that's been making the rounds?
The names of the characters in the NT, it turns out, roughly correspond to the frequency of names in the general population of the near east in the 1st century AD. Therefore, the New Testament was probably written by eyewitnesses to the events described therein.
I shit you not, that is the argument.
Say there was some guy back then who was crucified and died, his tomb was later found empty, and there were people who claimed they saw him after he died (and this belief influenced them a lot, even perhaps to the point of martyrdom).
Note this is a radically underconstrained problem, as there infinite possible explanations that are more likely than the outrageous claim that this person really was raised from the dead by a supernatural being.
They are obviously importing a bunch of extra baggage in for the ride with this "minimal" set of facts.
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